It's probably not a good idea to put worms in your girlfriend's vagina
(Picture: Getty/

Ah, it’s time to spin the magical ‘what people are putting in their vaginas’ wheel.

What’s on there this week? Cucumbers? Vinegar? Wasp nests?

Nope, it’s worms. Worms.

As part of Dan Savage’s Savage Love column for The Stranger, a man wrote to ask for advice for dealing with one of his partner’s fetishes.

Don’t worry, this isn’t another baby bird-ing story. But some may find this fetish equally as unsettling.

‘One of the things she’s into is formicophilia (a sexual interest in being crawled on or nibbled by insects,’ explains the anonymous man. ‘I offered to get some ants and worms to crawl on her body while I f*** her, but she wants me to put earthworms in her vagina.

‘Is there a safe way to do this? Female condom? I want to help, but putting worms in your vagina seems like it will end with an embarrassing trip to the ER.’

Yes, pals. This woman would very much like it to have earthworms wriggling around in her vagina.

This is rare, but the woman isn’t alone in this particular sexual preference. Formicophilia is a known fetish, with reports of people who experienced sexual satisfaction from getting stung by bees or being crawled on by insects.

It's probably not a good idea to put worms in your girlfriend's vagina
(Picture: Ella Byworth/

It’s important not to dismiss this as ‘weird’ or ‘gross’. People’s sexual preferences are personal, and it’s tough when you’re made to feel like a freak for something you feel you can’t help enjoying. One study focused on a Buddhist man’s formicophilia not by preventing him from engaging in his fetish for insects, but by removing the shame and guilt he felt for his sexual urges.

However, while we’re keen not to kink shame, we do have concerns over safety. So it’s crucial to make clear that while it’s okay to have fantasies about more ‘out-there’ things, it’s best to avoid anything that could cause us or anyone else serious harm.

In the case of placing worms into the vagina, there are quite a few risks.

For one, earthworms are unlikely to survive being placed into the vagina, where they will get squished or suffocated fairly speedily. So someone indulging in this fetish would need to live with the knowledge that they’ve taken another being’s life for their sexual pleasure.

It’s unlikely that earthworms will be clean, as, well, they live in soil. Dr Jen Gunter points out in her response to the query that ‘anything that lives in soil could easily inoculate the vagina with pathogenic bacteria’, which could lead to all kinds of dangerous infections and irritation.

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The fragility of worms could also mean that small pieces of their bodies end up left in their vagina once the sexual act has been completed. Leaving any foreign object in the vagina can lead to irritation, damage, and infection, disrupting the vagina’s delicate pH balance.

You could put worms into a condom to protect against bacteria and so on, but this may take away from the experience, as you wouldn’t feel the worms against your skin and the worms would almost immediately suffocate, meaning they wouldn’t wriggle. Which might defeat the point.

Some alternative options would be to focus on the fantasy aspect. A blindfold and dirty talk to set the scene could help to make fingers feel more like worms, or you could wriggle a cat o nine tails against the clitoris to create a safe version of the sensation.

Gummy worms may seem like an obvious option, but anything sugary puts your vagina at risk of a yeast infection, so it’s best avoided unless you’re okay with using a condom. Another food alternative (that would still require a condom so as not to disrupt the vagina’s healthy bacteria), suggested by a reader of this debacle, would be warm spaghetti.

Formicophiliacs could also satisfy their urges by engaging in insect play externally, such as allowing bugs to crawl over the nipples or stomach, before continuing on to have insect-free sex.

Just try to make sure you don’t roll over on to the bugs unless you’ve really weighed up the ethics of squashing a life for the sake of your orgasm.

Play safely, pals.

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